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AERIDES houlletiana

Image of Aerides houlletiana

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

AERIDES houlletiana

Plant Common Name

Aerides, Orchid

General Description

The rich green foliage of this unique orchid sits atop a chain-like mass of long roots and bears a cluster of deliciously fragrant gold and fuchsia flowers in early summer. Houllet's aerides is a fairly large evergreen epiphytic orchid native to the hot, sultry lowlands of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It has a growth habit that is called vandaceous (like Vanda orchids) with extremely long aerial roots and a fan-like leaf mass atop the stem-like pseudobulb.

The leaves are short, strap-like with two lobes at their ends. They are leathery and green and borne in fan-like clusters. In late spring and into summer, a drooping flower cluster dense with blooms is produced. It has as many as twenty light gold flowers with a white and fuchsia lip that is ornately ruffled. Spots of fuchsia are scattered across the petals and sepals, and the blooms emit a spicy and sweet citrusy scent. Some plants have paler yellow flowers with pure pink lips.

Grow Aerides houlletiana in nearly full sun to very bright partial shade mounted upon a tree branch, in a wide-grate or basket. With its long roots, it requires a very open breakable basket that will permit repositioning into a larger basket or tree mount. Take care not to damage roots when transplanting. This is a tropical orchid, so it requires a warm, frost-free location. It grows without soil with its roots exposed. High humidity, excellent air circulation, and frequent rainfall from spring through fall is ideal. Allow the plant to become drier and receive more light in autumn and winter. From spring to fall, apply diluted liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks. Leaves can scorch in hot afternoon sun, especially with low ambient humidity. Leaves also become overly yellow-green when light is too intense. Lack of sunlight also can prevent flowering.

This is a lovely specimen plant for a hot sun room or greenhouse in cold climates, or as an accent plant upon a tropical tree trunk or in a hanging basket for the patio. Use the cut flowers for hair decals, table garnishes or floral arrangements.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    13 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H2

  • Plant Type

    Epiphyte

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    16"-36" / 40.6cm - 91.4cm

  • Width

    10"-16" / 25.4cm - 40.6cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow, Gold, Fuchsia, Ivory

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Fruit Color

    Light Green, Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No